INTRO: How strangely idyllic Jesus’s birth appears in Matthew. No mention of the absence of a midwife, stench, or unsanitary conditions. The animals were the only neighbors, including the goats and sheep of Matthew’s parable of the Last Judgment, and as I have re-imagined it, the serpent who would bruise humanity’s heel in Genesis 3:8-15.
All the midwives were busy that night
when goats and sheep butted and
bleated for a taste of the after-birth
while a hapless not-quiet-husband
knelt beside his not-yet-wife Mary,
confused by having to birth this
child of another he’d never met,
a lamb she said was meant to be
for reasons he could not feel or see.
No Star Wars star shone above
a forgotten place the three of them
shared with none but bulls and
cows, hens and roosters, a snake
slithering through the straw toward
the donkey’s heel, the goats on
his right, the sheep on his left,
before the angels said the baby’d
come to bruise the serpent’s head.
Gordon C. Stewart, Chaska, MN, Dec. 27, 2015